6.30

Zigong asked, “If someone were able to benefit everyone and help those in need, what would you say about that? Would you call that person humane?”

Confucius replied, “Why just humane? They’d be a sage! Even Yao and Shun would find this tough!

A humane person who wants to get established helps establish others. Wanting to be successful, they help others become successful. To make an analogy of what’s close at hand—that’s the way to humaneness.”

8.19

Confucius said, “How great Yao was as a ruler! Nothing is greater than Heaven, but Yao could emulate it. His virtue was so vast that the common people couldn’t even describe it! His achievements were sublime and his teaching was brilliant!”

8.20

Shun successfully governed the empire with five ministers.

King Wu said, “I have ten competent ministers.”

Confucius said, “Talent is hard to find, isn’t it? It really flourished in the time of Yao and Shun. As for King Wu, he really only has nine good men, as one of his ministers is a woman.

“When the Zhou already controlled two-thirds of the empire, they were able to continue serving the previous dynasty of Yin. We can call the virtue of Zhou the highest virtue.”

14.42

Zilu asked Confucius how to be a noble person.

Confucius replied, “Cultivate yourself, to develop a respectful attentiveness.”

Zilu asked, “That’s it?”

Confucius answered, “Cultivate yourself so that you can bring comfort to others.”

Zilu again asked, “That’s all?”

Confucius replied, “Cultivate yourself so that you can bring comfort to the people. Even the sage kings Yao and Shun found this hard.”

20.1

Yao said, “Oh, Shun! The regulation of Heaven’s calendar now falls to you. Hold to the middle way. If the people fall into distress, this gift of Heaven’s will be withdrawn forever.”

In turn, Shun charged Yu with these same words.

T’ang said, “I, Lü, am only a youth, but I dare to sacrifice this black ox and make this declaration to the Lord of Heaven. I don’t dare pardon the guilty. We can’t hide anything from the Lord of Heaven, since we’re his subjects, and guilt is known in the Lord’s heart.

“If I commit a crime, don’t make the people of the ten thousand regions suffer for it. But if the people of the ten thousand regions commit a crime, let the punishment fall to me alone.”

The Zhou was greatly rewarded because it had good people to serve it.

King Wu said, “Although I have all my kin, it’s better to employ people who have humaneness. If the people commit crimes, let it fall to me alone.”

Set standard weights and measures, align the laws and regulations, and restore offices that have been abolished. Revive the states that are about to fall and the lineages about to end. Find worthy people who have gone into hiding and raise them up into high offices. By doing this, the people will flock to you.

This is what’s important to the people: their food, their funerals, and their sacrifices.

Be generous, and you’ll win the hearts of the people. Be trustworthy, and you’ll gain the confidence of the people. If you’re industrious, you’ll get things done. If you’re just, the people will be pleased.